A herpetic whitlow is a whitlow or a lesion on the thumb or finger caused by herpes simplex virus. This painful infection usually affects the thumbs, fingers, the toes or the nail cuticle. The herpetic whitlow can be caused by the virus HSV-1 or HSV-2. In children, the orofacial area is the main source of infection and may be caused by sucking or chewing of fingers or thumbs. The genital area is the main source for infection in adults.The commonly observed symptoms in herpetic whitlow are reddening, swelling and tenderness of the skin on the infected thumb or finger. It may be followed by fever and lymph nodes. Small and clear vesicles then develop individually and merge and become cloudy.